The Ness of Brodgar is an active archaeological excavation site covering six plus acres and is located between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness in the Heart of the Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site on the West Mainland of Orkney.
Excavations at the site began in 2003. The site has provided evidence of housing, decorated stone slabs, a massive stone wall with foundations, and a large building described as a Neolithic "cathedral" or "palace". The site may have been occupied from as early as 3500B.C. to the close of the Neolithic period more than a millennium and a half later.
According to many archaeologists, the discoveries are unparalleled in British prehistory. According to Nick Card, the chief archaeologist at the site, the complexity of finds is changing the "whole vision of what the landscape was 5,000 years ago" and "itís of a scale that almost relates to the classical period in the Mediterranean. Additionally, according to archaeologists in general, the site could be more important than Stonehenge.
Excavations have revealed several buildings, both ritual and domestic and the works suggest there are likely to be more in the vicinity. Pottery, cremated animal bones, stone tools and polished stone mace heads have also been discovered. Some of the stone slabs are decorated with geometrical lozenges typical of other Neolithic sites. There are the remains of a large stone wall -- the "Great Wall of Brodgar" -- that may have been 330 feet long and 13 feet or more wide. It appears to traverse the entire peninsula the site is on and may have been a symbolic barrier between the ritual landscape of the area and the mundane world around it. The temple-like structure, which was discovered in 2008, has walls 13 feet thick and the shape and size of the building are visible, with the walls still standing to a height of more three feet. The structure is 82 feet long and 66 feet wide. There is a cross-shaped inner sanctum and the building was surrounded by a paved outer passage.
For a relatively current look at the discoveries and the ongoing work at this site, see the August 2014 issue of the National Geographic magazine. In addition, the Ness of Brodgar Trust has published two pamphlets, The Ness of Brodgar and The Ness of Brodgar: Digging Deeper,
documenting the excavation work as of 2016. About the Ness of Brodgar
Ness of Brodgar TrustJourney to the Ness of Brodgar The Ness of Brodgar is located between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness in the Heart of the Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site on the West Mainland of Orkney, Scotland.
Ordnance Survey Map (HY303129)Visitors Information Visitors information for the the Ness of Brodgar may be found on the Ness of Brodgar Trust website. General tourist information for Orkney may be found on the Visit Orkney website. Additional Photos of the Ness of Brodgar Excavation from a 2007 Visit
Descriptive Sign at Ness of Brodgar Excavation Site in 2007Additional Photos of the Ness of Brodgar Excavation from a 2017 Visit
Sign at Entrance to Ness of Brodgar Excavation Site in 2017
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